, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 477-486
Date: 20 Dec 2008

Sugar accumulation, photosynthesis and growth of two indica rice varieties in response to salt stress

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Sugar, a final product of photosynthesis, is reported to be involved in the defense mechanisms of plants against abiotic stresses such as salinity, water deficiency, extreme temperature and mineral toxicity. Elements involved in photosynthesis, sugar content, water oxidation, net photosynthetic rate, activity of enzyme and gene expression have therefore been studied in Homjan (HJ), salt-tolerant, and Pathumthani 1 (PT1), salt-sensitive, varieties of rice. Fructose-1,6-biphosphatase (FBP) and fructokinase (FK) genes were rapidly expressed in HJ rice when exposed to salt stress for 1–6 h and to a greater degree than in PT1 rice. An increase in FBP enzyme activity was found in both roots and leaves of the salt-tolerant variety after exposure to salt stress. A high level of sugar and a delay in chlorophyll degradation were found in salt-tolerant rice. The total sugar content in leaf and root tissues of salt-tolerant rice was 2.47 and 2.85 times higher, respectively, than in the salt-sensitive variety. Meanwhile, less chlorophyll degradation was detected. Salt stress may promote sugar accumulation, thus preventing the degradation of chlorophyll. Water oxidation by the light reaction of photosynthesis in the salt-tolerant variety was greater than that in the salt-sensitive variety, indicated by a high maximum quantum yield of PSII (F v/F m) and quantum efficiency of PSII (ΦPSII) with low nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ), leading to a high net photosynthetic rate. In addition, the overall growth performances in the salt-tolerant variety were higher than those in the salt-sensitive variety. The FBP gene expression and enzyme activity, sugar accumulation, pigment stabilization, water oxidation and net photosynthetic rate parameters in HJ rice should be further investigated as multivariate salt-tolerant indices for the classification of salt tolerance in rice breeding programs.

Communicated by P. Wojtaszek.